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Old 09-29-2010, 05:55 PM   #1
BlueSplash
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Default Another No Start - Starter Relay question

1993 3.0L Auto 2WD 164K+ miles

Have not used the truck for 10 days, started to crank and then silence.

Tried again, I hear this clanking sound by the driver side fender but I do not seem to hear the starter solenoid clicks. The wife tried to start while I measure for voltage on the big posts on the starter relay. One side has battery voltage, when she tries to start, the other posts gets battery voltage which is expected behavior.

Sounds like a good starter relay. Could this part show good with voltmeter testing but still be bad. I have not tried jumping the two big posts as suggested here many times. I just read about it. Also the battery is out of the truck right now. Had autozone test it, the device says it is good. I partially agree since the headlights do not dim because the starter is not engaging.

I am also wondering, I see a big RED cable coming to the relay at one post, this is where the Battery voltage is normally, but there seems to be a bridge, like a Y shape bridge to the other big post from the same big red wire, coming from the battery. Can someone clarify this for me, what am I looking at here. I am expecting a similar big gauge wire to go to the starter from this other post being the other is from the battery.

I looked around for pictures of the starter relay, they all have 2 big posts and 2 small posts. What I have there now looks like 3 posts. 2 big and 1 small for the push on wire connector. I am leaning to replacing this part just in case the actual inside contacts is bad enough to carry starting current. Could the other terminal I am seeing be a gounding terminal extension connected to the mounting tabs. Electrical parts is not usually returnable so I do not want to just throw money at it. I am about to loose my job in 30 days.

I have been going home late, I have not checked the starter and solenoid electrical connections.

Thanks for any input.
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Old 09-29-2010, 06:28 PM   #2
modelageek
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSplash View Post
1993 3.0L Auto 2WD 164K+ miles

Have not used the truck for 10 days, started to crank and then silence.

Tried again, I hear this clanking sound by the driver side fender but I do not seem to hear the starter solenoid clicks. The wife tried to start while I measure for voltage on the big posts on the starter relay. One side has battery voltage, when she tries to start, the other posts gets battery voltage which is expected behavior.

Sounds like a good starter relay. Could this part show good with voltmeter testing but still be bad. I have not tried jumping the two big posts as suggested here many times. I just read about it. Also the battery is out of the truck right now. Had autozone test it, the device says it is good. I partially agree since the headlights do not dim because the starter is not engaging.

I am also wondering, I see a big RED cable coming to the relay at one post, this is where the Battery voltage is normally, but there seems to be a bridge, like a Y shape bridge to the other big post from the same big red wire, coming from the battery. Can someone clarify this for me, what am I looking at here. I am expecting a similar big gauge wire to go to the starter from this other post being the other is from the battery.

I looked around for pictures of the starter relay, they all have 2 big posts and 2 small posts. What I have there now looks like 3 posts. 2 big and 1 small for the push on wire connector. I am leaning to replacing this part just in case the actual inside contacts is bad enough to carry starting current. Could the other terminal I am seeing be a gounding terminal extension connected to the mounting tabs. Electrical parts is not usually returnable so I do not want to just throw money at it. I am about to loose my job in 30 days.

I have been going home late, I have not checked the starter and solenoid electrical connections.

Thanks for any input.
there is a few places you could start. do you have a multimeter. 1)you could test the small wire on the fender relay for power when you are trying to start the truck. That small wire is your "stater control circuit. if you have power then the issue is either the fender relay or the starter/starter solenoid. 2)you could jump the fender relay and if it starts then your issue is either the fender relay or the "starter control circuit". do you have a Haynes manual?
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:27 PM   #3
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Default

Thanks for the feedback but I still did not get the answer to my question.

My original post describes I am beyond the action steps you suggested and just waiting for opportunity to get under the truck and check the starter and starter solenoid.

Keep in mind, the truck was not started for 10 days. It started to crank, and usually, the second crank gets it going. This time the second crank did not happen.
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:14 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSplash View Post
1993 3.0L Auto 2WD 164K+ miles


I am also wondering, I see a big RED cable coming to the relay at one post, this is where the Battery voltage is normally, but there seems to be a bridge, like a Y shape bridge to the other big post from the same big red wire, coming from the battery.

Could the other terminal I am seeing be a gounding terminal extension connected to the mounting tabs.
I don't know what the bridge type thing is and I am not sure what the grounding terminal extension is. I have a 93 haynes wiring diagram I will look at later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSplash View Post

My original post describes I am beyond the action steps you suggested and just waiting for opportunity to get under the truck and check the starter and starter solenoid.

Keep in mind, the truck was not started for 10 days. It started to crank, and usually, the second crank gets it going. This time the second crank did not happen.
Since you said " I am beyond the action steps you suggested" I will assume you tried to jump the fender relay and it i did not start. from the limited info I have I might suspect that you toasted your starter...probably because you have another issue that prevents the truck from starting right up.......I would think maybe fuel related.......
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSplash View Post
1993 3.0L Auto 2WD 164K+ miles



Tried again, I hear this clanking sound by the driver side fender but I do not seem to hear the starter solenoid clicks. The wife tried to start while I measure for voltage on the big posts on the starter relay. One side has battery voltage, when she tries to start, the other posts gets battery voltage which is expected behavior.

Sounds like a good starter relay. Could this part show good with voltmeter testing but still be bad.

*I looked in the manual and that bridge things is wires running thruough the power distribution box and the alternator( I never fully understood how that all worked)

I looked on page 12-18 of my haynes manual. As you said it seems to be "expected behavior" I doubt that the part would be bad if you are getting proper voltage at the posts. I would check the starter connections but my guess is the starter went bad from the excess cranking. When was the last fuel filter and plug change?
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Last edited by modelageek; 09-30-2010 at 06:55 AM. Reason: *
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:53 AM   #6
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I will try to look into this issue this weekend. I found a 3 terminal starter relay online, now I know this part exists and not some modified item. Must be truck original, I will order sometime today. Not expensive to replace. Mystery part number identified.

There is also TSB-94-18-3 and TSB-94-26-3 detailing issues with starter solenoid pigtail connectors on ford cars 92-94 model years. I will check for this. The truck has a vulcan 3.0L that was also used on ford taurus line.

I will try to post a picture of the starter relay. I would have done already but not enough daylight to shoot pictures.
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Old 09-30-2010, 09:08 AM   #7
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Some fender relays are 3 terminal and some are 4. Totally normal. After looking at the wiring diagram and you testing the posts I bet the fender relay is fine. Test the cable for B+ at the starter.Also as you mentioned It could be the ground strap from the starter to the starter solenoid as the TSB stated
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Old 10-03-2010, 07:05 PM   #8
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FIX UPDATE:

Finally got under the truck today, pulled out the starter, bench tested OK.

The solenoid wire on the starter side is stiff, the connector looks ok but is saturated with oily grime. Opened up wireloom and spliced a short piece of # 14 wire and new connector. If you have means of soldering this splice, that is the way to go. Taped up for insulation and protection for the elements, tuck the wire back inside the wireloom
and tape the wireloom.

While the starter is out, cleaned engine ground wire connection. You will not miss this one, it is very visible. Also clean both starter mounting surface, engine side and the starter itself. This is your ground, it is best to get them cleaned for good contact. Put back everything, torque starter mounting bolt between 15-20 ft-lbs.

Truck starts everytime now.

A few other notes: For the novices like me, the Battery + side going to the starter relay mounted on the fender is just to activate the starter solenoid, the battery + feed to the starter is directly connected from the battery to the starter +12 terminal. You don't need a heavy gauge wire to test jump the starter relay as I initially thought.

The plastic Y-bridge I was referring to, is part of the harness and it appears to be a clever way to get the connectors lined up correctly, you will not get them crossed when replacing the starter relay.


Thanks to all those who offered their insights.
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